I love the hustle and bustle of the busy streets of central Tel Aviv, but sometimes it’s nice to remember that there are other, less hectic parts of the city that are well worth the short drive. That’s why it was such a treat when my friend and I drove to Seatara, which is located in Sea & Sun, on the northernmost beach of Tel Aviv.The upscale residential complex seems worlds away from the rest of the city but is in fact only a short drive from Dizengoff Street.Enjoying a prime location next to the sea, Seatara is a great place for a leisurely lunch or a formal dinner. My dining partner and I went for lunch on a glorious fall day with brilliant sunshine.The writer was a guest of the restaurant.Seatara Not kosher 8 Herzl Rosenblum Street Sea & Sun, Tel Aviv (03) 699-6633 Sunday to Friday 8:30 a.m. till midnight. Saturday 9 a.m. till midnightWhen we walked in, we were given the option to sit inside or on the huge terrace overlooking the sea. For us, it was an easy choice.Moments after we had taken our seats outside, chef Ofir Vidavsky came to the table to introduce himself and tell us a little about the restaurant.Established in 2004, Seatara is a European bistro with a strong focus on French and Italian cuisine, accentuated with a twist of exotic and Mediterranean spices. This fusion suits Vidavsky, who grew up in Italy and has worked in many European countries.After chatting with the chef and enjoying the stunning view, we started the meal with the house bread served with olive oil (NIS 22). While I don’t usually like to fill up too much on bread at the beginning of a meal, this time I just couldn’t resist because it was so fresh and tasty.Following some deep deliberation with Vidavsky, we agreed on a selection of starters to taste. I insisted on trying the flamed baladi eggplant served with sheep’s milk yogurt, Turkish feta cheese and herbs, tehina and garbanzo beans (NIS 54). Even though this is a classic dish served in many restaurants throughout the country, this version was a cut above the rest because of the mix of flavors used to season it. Next was stone oven roasted beets served with arugula, aged balsamic vinegar, almonds and Italian Gorgonzola cheese (NIS 45). The strong cheese complemented the sweet beets, and the vinegar added a bit of acidity to make an all-round tasty dish.Vidavsky was so proud of the grilled asparagus served with Parmigiano Reggiano, arugula and pan con tomato (NIS 56), that he came out of the kitchen to serve it to us personally. He had every reason to be proud. We were so impressed by the simple yet elegant flavors, that we used some of the leftover bread to sop up the juices and sauce.In a nod to the theme of sitting by the sea, I decided to have fish as my main course. The grilled corvina fillet served with pea puree and grilled artichokes (NIS 125) was excellently cooked. The vegetables served with it were slightly unconventional but worked really well together and complemented the fish.I’m not usually a big fan of steak, so I don’t get that jealous when others order one. However, when the beef fillet (NIS 165) that my dining companion ordered arrived at the table, I was overcome by a serious case of food envy. The massive juicy steak, which was served with caramelized onion, garlic confit and beef gravy, tasted as good as it looked, if not better.To finish off the meal with something sweet, we shared a creme brulee with grilled banana and tuile kadaif (NIS 48). It’s a good thing we shared only one dessert between us because we were barely able to finish the huge portion. However, it wasn’t that difficult because it tasted so good and was made with fresh, quality ingredients.The service we received throughout the meal was excellent, and the various waiters that took care of us made sure we enjoyed our experience.Seatara is an elegant restaurant that fits in well with its upmarket surroundings. The menu is suitably high level but isn’t snobby and pretentious, offering hearty portions full of rich flavors with a twist. It’s a great place to go if you want a bit of peace and quiet and enjoy your meal with the sea and sun in the background.